2013 the year of ups and downs


Chance is always powerful, let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish. ~Ovid

Looking back to last year post, I’m very sad to notice that this year didn’t manage to release any new RPG πŸ™ Even if Seasons Of The Wolf is at good point. But let’s proceed in order.

UP: Early this year I released the yuri version of Heileen 3, called “Sea Maidens“. The game was very well received, and sold only slightly less than the otome version, showing clearly that there’s a market for people who like yuri content.

DOWN: After that, I had several projects going on (as always lol) but the most important were Planet Stronghold 2, Bionic Heart 2 and Spirited Heart 2. As you know, I managed to release only one, Bionic Heart 2.

I had already decided to stop making pure simple visual novel before its release, but when the game finally was out, after the most crazy beta testing I have ever done (at one point I admit I even thought to cancel the game, something that never happened before!) and sold poorly, that was the last drop.

To be honest, I am not sure myself why the game did so badly. Maybe the sci-fi setting? the multiple point of view? the fact that romance played a minor role in the story?

I’ve given up trying to understand the reasons, but as I said, already before that game I made my mind of quitting doing VNs, especially since I also enjoy much more doing RPGs or life/dating sims πŸ™‚

UP: And here comes the other good thing that happened this year: Nicole’s release. The game took much more time than I anticipated, but the final result was really good! Is out only since a few months, but is already looking to be one of my most popular otome games. And the yuri version should be out next year πŸ˜‰

DOWN: Planet Stronghold 2. I really don’t want to blame anyone in specific for it, since sometimes it seems that some projects are “cursed”. With Loren last year, everything went right. With this title, basically everything went wrong πŸ˜€ So yeah, is true that the writer, the coder and even the artist had to slow down for personal/real life issues. But I was too busy managing too many projects too and I feel I didn’t do enough, didn’t motivate people and managed them badly.

Spirited Heart 2 instead was a very different story. Sarah wrote well and fast, but when I was starting to consider adding more variety of romances (yuri/yaoi) I discovered that the artist refused to draw them, after he initially said was fine. I don’t want to make any comments about this, since I’m sure you already know what I think. Anyway, I had to discard all the sprites already done and find another artist! Deji accepted, so while the game will be greatly delayed, at least I have a reliable and skilled artist working on it now πŸ™‚

UP: Loren on Steam πŸ™‚ While the game is not yet out, should show up in mid-January. I am happy because I think that title deserved to be there, even if in recent times seems like they’re much more relaxed and are allowing many titles to get in. Still, is a good achievement (forgive the pun).

So getting back to the quote I put above, luck/chance have a big impact in our lives and sometimes you can’t do much about it. The only thing you can do, is always be ready to catch the opportunities!

That’s it for this year. See you in 2014 and Happy New Year!

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28 Responses to 2013 the year of ups and downs

  1. SpectralTime says:

    …Well, now I feel bad for not playing Bionic Heart 2. I’m sorry! It’s just… well, after playing the demo, I enjoyed the “social boss fights,” but the characters and story just weren’t doing it for me, not least because the game seemed to really want the main character to cheat on his girlfriend.

    And when I tried to look up the endings online, they all seemed sad and depressing, and they all seemed to end with the protagonist wiping out all life on Earth in a pissy fit of pique! Bleh! Talk about a way to not make me root for the guy!

    It just didn’t sound like my cup of tea from the storyline I gleaned.

  2. SilverHyena says:

    I liked Bionic Heart 2 so I’m sorry to hear it didn’t do well. I loved the art for it and I liked the darker edge to the story, but it is true it isn’t a feel good game. I have to be in the right mood to play it. (And, well, I’m a yaoi girl at heart so I end up replaying Loren the most.) I will say that I love the multiple viewpoints and I really do hope you give that another shot at some point. Also sorry to hear about the Spirited Heart 2 situation. That sucks, but Deji is awesome so hopefully everything will go smoothly from now on.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to buying all of your games this upcoming year! Gotta support your cats! (And they all sound like so much fun!)

    • admin says:

      Thanks πŸ™‚ The multiple POV is cool in my opinion, and I think that if the game wasn’t successful was mostly for the dark setting/theme. So I plan to do more games with multiple POV too in future.
      Yeah with Deji might take longer since she’s busy, but at least I know that I won’t have surprises because she is more open minded.
      My cats thank you πŸ˜€

  3. lockey says:

    Yeah, i played bionic heart 1 and it wasnt my cup of tea. But you can count on me to get planet stronghold 2 and seasons of the wolf as soon i see they are ready.

    So dont give up!

    • admin says:

      No no, I’m not giving up πŸ˜€ I’m only done with simple visual novels, but RPGs like PS2, SOTW are different so I’ll keep making them πŸ™‚

  4. Alex says:

    Nicole definatly reminded me of Love and Order (which I -loved- due to it being ,such a relaxing game ,compared to shooters, action roleplaying games and the like.

    They both had in common that they looked visually amazing.
    But Nicole ? … Nicole , I felt was much longer, a bigger game with many more things to explore.
    The characters were amazingly well written (made me laugh/smile/feel angry) just like they’re supposed to.

    I’ve always loved rpg’s due to them offering -choice- . Choice is good, the feeling of freedom in a game, is at least to me important. And that your decisions actually seem to matter.

    I too admit Bionic Heart wasn’t my favourite game , but that too might be because I’ve always loved the fantasy settings. (And the way you’ve started to tie in Spirited Heart with Loren ,and now Seasons of the Wolf ? -love it! )

    The expansion for Loren was also really promising (:p admit ,the cover drew me in => Once mistook Winterwolves for White Wolf ..a company that’s famed for their vampire themed games) More vampires in the future ? I wouldn’t be saddened by it.
    But in the end , it was characters like Chambara that really won me over. πŸ™‚ Her personality was a win.

    In short , I imagine 2012 to have been a great Winterwolves year, you’re totally my favourite indie developer and I will definatly return to buy your games in 2014, 2015 ,2016 , so keep up the good work!

    • admin says:

      Thanks πŸ™‚ Yes 2012 was great, even this year wasn’t bad but due to the lack of a new RPG release was less spectacular than previous ones. But I’ll remedy to that in the coming years! πŸ™‚

  5. Matt says:

    I too have learned that Yuri sells. πŸ˜‰

  6. Svan says:

    I’m sorry it didn’t sell as well, but at the same time you now know what you should focus on πŸ™‚
    I admit I didn’t touch any of the Biotic Heart games because I like to play as a specific character (In my case female, both defined and customizable.) Nicole was great as I thirst for mystery otome games! I would love to see more mystery and darker otome games, something taken straight out of Midsomer Murders would be awesome.

    Looking forward to your upcoming games πŸ™‚

  7. minet says:

    Even reading the negative review I’ll buy Bionic Heart 2. I’m very happy to find sci-fi visual game.
    I played Spirited Heart Girl’s love and was disappointed by the endings “quickly made” like “she got married and lived quite well”, and the goddess ending, to see what wish the human answers. Only this πŸ™
    On the contrary I’m enjoying a lot Heileen 3, it has a lot of dialogues, to notice the effect of your decisions. I didnt finished it yet I’m afraid to not reach a profession ending as I like to touch to many skills. It would be cool to have another game like this.

  8. 4leafclover says:

    I am fan of the Loren series and I will buy the squeal. So I am very happy to learn Loren is getting on Steam. When I first came to this site, I know Loren had trouble getting Greenlight, and the nature of the content was being bashed in the comments over there, etc. But I really like the art and the writing, the lore. So you got my support for the squeal, and most likely I will get Seasons of the Wolf as well.

    Congratulations and Happy New Year!

  9. SpectralClaws says:

    I”m sorry but I really LIKED bionic Hearts I think this is your BESt idea to date. I am eternally bored with games like I will remeber you – they are monotonous and..well..utterly forgettable, ironically because there are thousands of similar stat raising otome games. I remeber you is not nearly unique enough. I felt that in the end Winter in Fairbrook is a more pleasant outing with better characters.

    I thought Bionic Hearts was quite intelligent. I especially enjoy the setting and moody tone of it. There are not enough sci-fi games. I think Bionic Hearts is one of your BEST games, well the number 2. The number 1 is not nearly rich enough but 2 is really very good! The endings are interesting and far less cliche then usually. Please do not abandon this kind of setting or mood, but I agree that combining VN with something MORE may be a better idea! But I REALLY liked Bionic Hearts 2 Happy new year and Cheer up! You can’t please EVERYBODY all the time! Keep up the good work!

  10. SpectralClaws says:

    PS: As for perspectives thing..I thought THAT was really clever and made the game richer too. But in particular, i enjoyed the mood and the setting. I think as long as you feel you do what you like you will be successful. You make me want to replay it and write a priper review because I really think this game is very good!

    How about a vn/rpg about time travel one day? That could be interesting. Well, good luck. As always I will keep cheering for you in the new year, hope it will be good one for your games πŸ™‚

    If I were to list games from you that I liked that I played, top to bottom that would be:

    Bionic Hearts 2- most memorable story in terms of overall ambience and I really liked the many perspectives and the endings and the combined endings. I think it’s kind of mature.

    Planet Stronghold – I liked the setting and the idea of choice in the middle and characters were quite nice too. The idea of visiting and exploring different planets was appealing. I also liked personal quests. I think you also added personal quests in
    Loren- that’s what makes things more interesting for me because it expands the characters backgrounds.

    Winter in Fairbrook – this was a very nice one. I like to reply it over Christmas actually. It’s a pleasant and relaxing title, albeit mechanics does get to be repetitive. I felt there was little..challenge in gardening there. Too easy.

    Loren (switchable content so it’s fine, even if fan-servicy, storywise fine, mechanics wise I felt it was essentially a copy of Planet Stronghold in a different setting but again I really liked the personal quests)

    Always Remember Me – I found it a lackluster, although a very “correct” otome.

    I hope you;ll forgive me my frankness but I really liked Bionic Hearts , though I think at some point it got a little too wild, the laboratory part I think there was something there I found a little disturbing.

    Good luck!

    • admin says:

      Thanks πŸ™‚
      Personally I love Bionic Heart, the first one, because is one of the few games that I’ve written myself. I get lots of people saying that is my game with the best story! But often the sales don’t match the critics and that’s definitely the case.
      In summary if I didn’t need to do this job to live, I would make a game with settings like Bionic Heart every year. Unfortunately, I need to earn enough so I must explore other settings.
      I don’t know yet how Planet Stronghold 2 will do, but sci-fi seems to be not a good setting, most people still prefer fantasy or modern. It annoys me since I prefer sci-fi, but ultimately I need to do what people wants ^_^;

  11. LeeZak says:

    Planet Stronghold was really good the desert “Dune” like planet was a nice setting.. and sci-fi is always strong, fantasy is so mainstream that it hurts ;<

    I was so looking forward when you guys announced Planet Stronghold 2.. hope it gets the attention it deserves ;[ once you release it ofc..

    Happy New Year, for it to be better than this one

    • admin says:

      Thanks, best wishes to you too! Finally starting to make some good progress on PS2 even if is still early development πŸ™‚

  12. Rincewind says:

    Sorry to hear that Bionic Heart 2 didnt sell well.
    In my case, Im interested in yuri mostly, so didnt catch my eye.

    But thanks to you holiday sale finally was able to try the Heileen series. I got the third one, the yuri version.
    And woah, was GREAT. I love the settings, the visuals, the characters.
    I got Marie ending… loved the romance between her and Heileen.
    When she and Heileen meets again… was a fantastic moment, that alone make my mind about getting her ending first.

    The only thing that I didnt like was how early Heileen was drooling all the time seeing the guys. Specially with Sebastian… I despise that guy. I want to kick him riiight there.
    Another one that I dislike was when in a discusion with Morgan and Juliet about Marie… all the options assumed that I was jealous of Morgan…

    But I loved when Heileen started to blush, notice and think more and more about the girls that surround her. Plenty of cute moments.
    I can’t decide which one will be the next ending to get… all the ladies are awesome.

    Ops… Im ranting… a lot.
    Anyways I hope the best for you in the 2014. I hope that you continue fantastic games (with lots of yuri!! =P).

    • admin says:

      Haha thanks πŸ™‚
      The reason of Heileen’s interest in the boys is because originally the game was to be otome only. Also, she is not lesbian but more like bisex since she can date both male and females πŸ˜‰
      For yuri, Roommates has one route but is *very* long, much longer than the other games. Then hopefully one of the RPGs is out with more yuri stuff. Also Nicole yuri…

      • OtterFace says:

        Even though I tend to be more of a fan of otome, I thought the yuri routes for Heileen 3 were much, much better written. The yuri scenes were just so much more interesting, with some historical information blended in for flavour and some decent character development and realistic dialogue.

        Not to bash on the writer of the otome route, but as much as I liked the heterosexual romance options, I eventually got rather tired of Heileen’s constant jealousy and pettiness. She just sounded so much more mature and likable in the yuri version.

        • admin says:

          I agree, the otome was more on the funny side but a bit immature probably, while the yuri part was really well written. That’s why the same writer (Sarah) is working on Spirited Heart 2 and on another yet-to-be-announced game πŸ˜‰

          • Rincewind says:

            Yeay! More Spirited Heart yuri?

            And I have high hopes for Nicole’s yuri version.

            And I like to think about Heileen’s sexuality as a “Schrodinger sexuality”.
            She’s straight, bi and lesbian.
            If you got only the boy’s version, she’s straight.
            If you got only the yuri version, she’s lesbian.
            And if you got both, she’s bi.

            So, I only got the yuri versiΓ³n, so my Heileen is lesbian. She’s only a little slow to realize the beautiful truth.

  13. OtterFace says:

    Personally, I think the great trailer and promotional art for Nicole helped with the sales. Some of the trailers for older games were either too long or too plain or too haphazardly put together and in my opinion, didn’t promote the products in the best way.

    It was the trailer for Nicole that really sold the game to me -it did a fantastic job conveying the mood and atmosphere, while showcasing some of its best features and teasing the romances.

    In regards to Bionic Heart 2, I was initially very interested in this game but I was put off by the fact that it’s a sequel to another game and I’d have to spend about $30 to buy both, which is quite an investment for my modest budget. Plus, I was slightly disappointed in how the art turned out. I love the lineart, but I’m not too hot on the colour work, especially the super-strong shadows on characters’ faces. Just personal taste. That being said, I’ll probably pick up both games when I can afford it.

    Hope you don’t mind a bit of criticism, I’m a big fan of your games πŸ˜€

    • admin says:

      Yes, I am now using external people/artists to do trailers for me πŸ˜€ I think you’re right about it.
      As for BH2 yes I can understand, though with the Christmas sale the price would have been $15 because of the 50% discount πŸ˜‰ but I’ll do more discounts in future.
      No worries about the criticism, is very useful to me!

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